The US State Department has released the 2008 Human Rights Report.
The report on Armenia harshly – if not unprecedentedly – criticizes the government for human rights abuses, with the March 1 post-election clashes as the pinnacle of oppression.
The summary, in part, states:
The government’s human rights record deteriorated significantly during the year, with authorities and their agents committing numerous human rights abuses, particularly in connection with the presidential elections and the government’s suppression of demonstrations that followed. Authorities denied citizens the right to change their government freely and citizens were subject to arrest, detention, and imprisonment for their political activities. Authorities used force, at times lethal, to disperse political demonstrations. Authorities used harassment and intrusive application of bureaucratic measures to intimidate and retaliate against government opponents. Police beat pretrial detainees and failed to provide due process in some cases. The National Security Service (NSS) and the national police force acted with impunity for alleged human rights abuses. Authorities engaged in arbitrary arrest and detention.
Prison conditions remained cramped and unhealthy. Authorities imposed arbitrary restrictions on freedom of assembly and the press, particularly through harsh measures imposed during the state of emergency. Journalists continued to practice self-censorship. The government and laws restricted religious freedom. Violence against women and spousal abuse, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against persons with disabilities and homosexuals was also reported.
The full report on Armenia is at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/eur/119066.htm.
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